Alabama Department of Education

Tommy Bice

Alabama Department of Education Superintendent Tommy Bice says he will propose raising teacher salaries over the next three years.

Bice said yesterday his department would recommend raising teachers' salaries 5 percent in fiscal year 2017, which begins next October.

The state government will have the final word on public school spending next year. According to the department, the raise would cost $160 million.

Bice says he will seek additional raises in 2018 and 2019, with the goal of bringing teacher salaries in line with inflation.

Alabama State House
Jay Williams / Flickr

Alabama’s lawmakers are back in Montgomery for a special session to work on the budget.

Governor Robert Bentley is seeking a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. He also wants to raise the business privilege tax on larger businesses while giving smaller ones a tax cut. The governor has also suggested ending the ability of taxpayers to claim a state income tax deduction when they pay their federal Social Security taxes.

Tuscaloosa Representative Bill Poole says he is not optimistic the legislature will draft a budget in this special session.

Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell
Matt Teague / Los Angeles Times

Probate judges from across Alabama are meeting in Tuscaloosa today. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold reports they’ll be talking about updates to marriage laws.

Alabama education professionals are attending this week’s MEGA Conference in Mobile.

Over 2000 individuals preregistered for the event including teachers, administrators, and school nurses. The conference provides professional learning opportunities to help educators enhance their job skills. It's also a chance to build skills to work with students in the classroom. The conference runs until Friday at noon.

Voters in Birmingham overwhelmingly approved a tax increase yesterday that will go toward Birmingham’s City Schools.

According to Birmingham Board of Education President Randall Woodfin, the extra tax will cost the average homeowner an additional $1.83 a month.

Money from the tax increase will be used to put a preschool classroom in every Birmingham city elementary school. Some schools that already have preschool programs are expected to expand them. The money will also go toward funding music and other fine arts programs as well as foreign language education.


Six schools, including four from Mobile County, have been recognized in Montgomery for having high-achieving students that come mostly from low-income homes.

The governor and state education officials held a ceremony Wednesday to honor six Alabama Torchbearer schools selected by the state Department of Education. The schools have at least 80 percent of their students receiving free or reduced-price lunches and score among the top 20 percent in state educational assessments.


State education officials say they're reviewing public school sex education policies after a state law banning consensual anal and oral sex was ruled unconstitutional in June.

Alabama Department of Education Spokesman Michael Sibley tells because of the court's ruling, sexual education curriculum emphasizing that gay sex is illegal in Alabama is legally incorrect.

Ben+Sam / Flickr

Several Alabama school systems will be offering breakfast and lunch free to all students when classes resume in August.

The state Department of Education says school systems qualifying for the free meals under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act have poverty levels that are 40 percent and higher.

Systems that have all or nearly all of their schools participating in the program are Montgomery County, Barbour County, Clarke County, Lowndes County, Wilcox County, Selma, Tarrant, Midfield, Chickasaw, Albertville, Dallas County, Macon County, Linden, Bessemer and Anniston.

popofatticus / Flickr

The Alabama Department of Education is using an online survey to measure Alabamians' opinions about the quality of the career and technical education being offered in Alabama's public schools.

The department says responses to the survey will help it plan for the future and better serve students, parents and communities.

The web address for the survey is:

The deadline for taking the survey is Feb. 21. The department says the results will be available on its website ( ) starting in March.

The Alabama Department of Education has announced the new list of failing public schools, where students can transfer to other non-failing public schools or to private schools.

The department says five schools were added to the new list. They are Barbour County Intermediate School, Lafayette High School, Abbeville High School, Jeremiah A. Denton Middle School in Mobile County, and Bessemer High School.

Six Montgomery Public Schools educators accused of participating in a district-wide grade changing scheme are facing state trials.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports the district's former assistant superintendent, two principals, an assistant principal and two teachers are expected to appear before an administrative law judge in December.

The newspaper reports the educators could lose their teaching certificates.

Mobile County Public Schools

New figures released by the Alabama Department of Education show Mobile County schools Superintendent Martha Peek is the highest-paid in the state. reports that Peek earns an annual salary of $204,000 overseeing the largest school system in Alabama with an enrollment of 59,000 students.

Second on the list is Birmingham City Schools' Craig Witherspoon, who earns $202,155 overseeing a system with 24,629 students.


More than two dozen Alabama legislators have taken state officials up on an invitation to visit schools in their districts and talk with students, teachers and school administrators.

Legislators said they were impressed with the teachers and students they met during the visits Tuesday. But several legislators said they were disappointed to find overcrowded classrooms and not enough money for supplies.

Republican Rep. Greg Wren of Montgomery says he's disappointed teachers have to spend so much time filling out paperwork when they could be teaching students.

The state Department of Education is planning to unveil its new way to address barriers to learning and teaching and to re-engage disconnected students.

   Department officials will join other educators Friday in Montgomery to present the Comprehensive System of Learning Supports design documents.

   The director of the department's Office of Learning Support, Linda Felton-Smith, says the design moves student supports away from reacting to problems and moves them toward a system emphasizing prevention and early intervention. Disabilities Advocacy Program

Advocates for the disabled say they're concerned about the future of special education programs since state officials plan to inspect them less often.

The Anniston Star ( ) reported Sunday that the state Department of Education will transition from inspecting the programs once every three years to once every four years beginning this school year.

Microsoft Images

Alabama education officials say more than a third of college freshman from the state needed remedial coursework last fall.

Deputy Superintendent of Education, Sherrill Parris, says the amount of students who graduated high school and needed remedial coursework factored into Plan 2020 — a statewide initiative to improve education over the next seven years.

Parris and executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Gregory Fitch, say standards requiring students to enroll in remedial courses varies between the state's public colleges and universities.

A three-member investigative team appointed by the state Department of Education is looking into allegations of mass grade changes at three public high schools in Montgomery. School Superintendent Barbara Thompson sought the department's help earlier this month after the Montgomery Advertiser reported that teachers who worked in Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis and Sidney Lanier high schools said they witnessed or participated in the improper changing of hundreds of grades.

longislandwins / Flickr

A lawsuit has been filed accusing the Alabama Department of Education of refusing to release school data showing the impact of Alabama's law cracking down on illegal immigrants has had on Hispanic students. The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery filed the lawsuit, which contends education officials have declined to release data on student enrollment before and after the immigration law was enacted. The lawsuit says the SPLC has requested a copy of information that education officials have sent to the U.S. Justice Department.

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice says his department will investigate allegations of widespread grade changing in the Montgomery County public school system. Bice said on Friday that Montgomery Superintendent Barbara Thompson sought the department's help, and the investigation is beginning immediately. Teachers who worked in Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis and Sidney Lanier high schools in Montgomery said they witnessed or participated in the improper changing of hundreds of grades. Nearly 30 current and former employees were interviewed. The majority worked at Lee.

Birmingham Schools to Consider Layoffs, Demotions

Jul 16, 2012

Birmingham's school board is set to consider proposals by a state intervention team to lay off or demote about 200 people and delay the start of school by three days.

The items are on the agenda for the board's Tuesday meeting.

The layoffs have been considered in the past, but the board rejected them June 26, leading to the Alabama Department of Education taking over the city school district the following day.